Argentina 3-0 Croatia, enters World Cup final after 8 years
12/14/2022 8:19:56 AM
The first semi-final of the Qatar World Cup was held at the Lusail Stadium. In the end, the Argentine team defeated the Croatian team 3-0 and entered the World Cup final after eight years.
In this game, the young Argentine striker "Little Spider" Alvarez performed well. He first created a penalty for the team, and then scored a goal in the second half and scored twice. With 1 goal and 1 assist, Messi was elected the best player in the game. His extraordinary breakthrough in the second half was like turning back time and returning to his peak period.
Although the Croatian team failed to reach the finals of the two consecutive World Cups, the football team of this country with a population of less than 4 million has won respect with its tenacious performance. The 37-year-old Modric was substituted in the 80th minute to thunderous applause. Elegant and tenacious, this player is undoubtedly the best midfielder of this era.
In the previous quarter-finals, Argentina and Croatia both experienced 120 minutes of fierce fighting, and finally eliminated their opponents through a penalty shootout. Among them, the goalkeepers Martinez and Livakovic of the two teams both performed brilliantly, saving opponents' penalties one after another.
Before the game, many fans predicted that this game was not only a duel between Messi and Modric, but also a contest between Martinez and Livakovic.
Due to the fierce battle with the Dutch team in the last game, the left and right wingbacks of the Argentine team, Acuna and Montiel, were suspended due to accumulated yellow cards. The Croatian team has experienced two penalty shootouts and is slightly disadvantaged in terms of physical fitness.
The most recent match between the two sides was in the 2018 Russia World Cup group stage. At that time, the "Plaid Legion" Golden Generation won 3-0 and advanced to the round of 16 with the first place in the group. The two teams also faced each other in the group stage of the 1998 World Cup in France, where Argentina won 1-0.
As soon as the game came up, the two teams were more cautious, because each was afraid of the other's quick counterattack. The "iron triangle" of the Croatian team consisting of Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic in the midfield is still stable, helping the team to have a slight advantage in possession.
Halfway through the first half of the game, the two teams gradually let go and started a fierce strangulation in the midfield. Argentina suddenly picked up the pace after 30 minutes, using two counter-attacks to score two goals.
In the 31st minute, the Argentine team's two outstanding young players in this World Cup completed the connection. Enzo Fernandez made a long pass from the midfielder to find Alvarez, who was successfully offside.
Messi stood on the penalty spot for the fourth time in the regular time of this tournament. His shot was so strong that Livakovic was beyond his reach. The ball went straight to the upper right corner of the goal, 1-0.
In the 38th minute, the Argentine team made a comeback, Messi launched a quick counterattack in the backcourt, and Alvarez drove straight into the opponent's penalty area after taking the ball, causing chaos in the opponent's penalty area.
After the ball rebounded continuously between the Croatian defender and Alvarez, it still fell at the feet of the latter. Subsequently, Alvarez faced Livakovic with a decisive kick and hit the goal to rewrite the score to 2-0.
Throughout the first half, although the Croatian team had the ball possession advantage, they had no way to attack. In addition, the team slackened slightly in the last 15 minutes and was continuously caught behind by the Argentine team.
As the frontcourt blasting point of the Argentine team in this tournament, Alvarez is very good at using the field space and looking for opportunities through running without hesitation. The team's two goals are related to his characteristic.
At the beginning of the second half, Croatian coach Dalic made continuous substitutions and adjustments. He replaced Brozovic in the 49th minute and put on the tall striker Petkovic to give it a go. The Argentine team followed up with substitutions, sending in central defender Lisandro Martinez and removing midfielder Paredes.
In the 69th minute of the game, the Croatian team, which had been unable to attack for a long time, was hit again. Messi staged a wonderful performance in the process of breaking through from the right. He dodged past the opponent's young central defender Gwadiol and then made a cross. Alvarez rushed to push and scored twice to score twice and rewrite the score 3-0.
In the 80th minute of the game, Dalic replaced the 37-year-old Modric, and the audience burst into applause. The Croatian hero who broke the ten-year monopoly of Messi and Ronaldo on the Ballon d'Or once led the national team to the finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In this World Cup, he is still contributing to the team with unremitting running. He started all 6 games and played a total of about 565 minutes. He is not only responsible for offensive organization, but also participates in defense, with an average running distance of more than 11,000 meters per game.
In the last 10 minutes of the game, Croatia still did not give up, but many attacks failed under the targeted defense of the Argentine team. At the final whistle, Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 and entered the World Cup final again after 8 years.
Statistics show that Croatia's ball possession rate reached 60% throughout the game. However, due to the disadvantage of the ball at their feet, the team was unable to break through the Argentine defense in the offensive third area, threatening the gate guarded by Martinez.
At the same time, the Argentine team, which is good at playing behind the opponent, seized the weakness of the Croatian team's low defensive mobility and created threats in counterattacks many times. They were extremely efficient in this game, with 8 shots and 7 shots on target. Coupled with Messi's highlight performance, the team finally won the opponent with 3 goals.
After the game, Messi was elected as the best player of the game. With the goal in the first half, his World Cup goals reached 11 goals, surpassing the German team Muller to become the current World Cup scorer. In addition, he is still 5 goals away from the record of 16 goals set by retired German striker Miroslav Klose.